One for the record books

olpea(zone 6 KS)August 24, 2012

Weatherman showed stats last night indicating this is still the driest summer on record for the KC area. Even drier than the driest year of the dust bowl. I'm starting to see established landscape bushes dead. Wildfire burned up about 1000 acres yesterday. Started from a lawnmower hitting a rock. It's supposed to rain this weekend. We'll see.

It's interesting to see the effect on fruit trees. Established plums didn't tolerate the drought/heat very well- partial defoliation, bronzing of leaves. Some established apples show a lot of bronzing of leaves.

Pawpaws would have died without hand watering. Same for one young persimmon. Strawberry patch was watered once, but it looks about dead. Blueberries were watered repeatedly. I finally gave up on them. They look pitiful. Pears look good, but some fruit was very small.

Peaches probably fared among the best. Fruit quality (flavor) was very good until lately. I think the drought simply finally caught up with some peach trees. I have a couple more peach trees to go and the foliage of those trees looks better so I'm hoping the fruit quality will be better.

Second year peach trees with little fruit have done fine. I pruned them twice this summer and they need it again.

This is the first time I've tried to raise fruit in an arid climate. It's nice not to have to spray much, but I prefer my usual waterlogged, humid, disease/insect ridden climate. I'm used to it and I know better how to manage it.

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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)

Olpea,

I also feel the pain. you and I are not too far apart. We finally got a big rain today. Thank goodness!!!!!! Some of my fruit trees starting to turn yellow.

Tony

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 11:44PM
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neptune24

I feel for you-guys. We are in a drought too, but nothing like OK, KS, NE, etc. Hope things improve for you pretty soon.

Our last 2 summers were very hot. This summer has been pretty close to average overall (cool at the beginning, very hot in the middle, and now pretty cool at the end). Just when I thought we might never see an average summer again! :) So things will get better for you folks, and I hope it's soon.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 2:36AM
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theaceofspades(7 Long Island)

Not in a drought here, not even watered the lawn just the garden.

I hope it gets better for you folks in the drought stricken mid-west.

Last year Irene whacked all the late season crop off the trees here. Lots of coastal flooding and toppled trees.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 9:54AM
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mrsg47(7)

Olpea, I've been keeping up with the news of your drought on this forum, the TV news and the Wall Street Journal. It is a very scary situation when you cannot control your environment (not that we ever could entirely), but at least deal with conditions you are used to. We have had some rain in the upper Northeast but as a whole we too have had a drought but not the kind you have in KS. Is this just a flukey summer? Do we have more of this coming so we must adjust? Maybe we just don't know. What is going on in your orchards is heartbreaking. The work, the spray, the time; culminating in dry leaves and little fruit. I am so sorry. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 10:01AM
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sautesmom

It's so interesting to see how other people live. Your comment about "hand watering" really struck me, since that is the only way I have ever gardened. Although in winter during the rainy season we can go weeks at a time without having to "hand water", even then, it does have to be done now and again. It would be so bizarre to plant trees or vegetables, and not have to plan the time to water them--apparently you stick them in the ground and they just grow!

Carla in Sac

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 11:48PM
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brookw_gw

It's been "interesting" to say the least this year. I lost no trees. I've lost more trees to the floods from the last 3 years. My Seckel pear lost most of its leaves, but all other fared pretty well--even the one and two year old newbies. Our Asian pears fruited for the first time, giving us a taste of what's to come, and I'm pretty impressed. A lot of local Asians I've tried have just been insipid. These were the opposite--juicy, flavorful, and a nice crunch--perfectly shaped and sized except for a couple stinkbug scars.

My young apples are loaded w/good looking fruit--a little scab and some stinkbut scars. '

Early peaches were riddled w/curculio and mostly unusable. Later peaches small but good. We even got a good sampling from all of our two-year-olds. Plums did not set, nor did any of the cherries. Apricots did not flower.

Blueberries are toast. I have 12 left out of 55. We lost half of our young currants and an entire 100 feet of both gooseberries and rhubarb. All grapes, new and old, survived and put out some new growth. Grape harvest has been impressive though very prolonged.

The raspberries are confused. I have been picking both summer and everbearers since May from 200 feet of each. Small harvests of 1-2 pints a week, some weeks giving up a gallon or more.

Blackberries were very disappointing for what should have been a record-breaking year. Only 25 gallons picked when there should have been over 200. We were picking some in June.

I had ripe pumpkins in July, and watermelons are setting a whole new crop instead of dying out. The cantaloupes are covered in blooms.

Another weird thing about blooms is that they have never shut down. I've got a restaurant that wants between 400-500 squash blossoms a week, and I've met that quota all year and am still meeting it. Amazingly, that's from all one planting, not a succession.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 3:08PM
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